Sexual health expert Dr. Catherine Hood answers can I catch chlamydia without having sex with Emma Howard.
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Emma Howard: Hello! We are answering questions on sexual health. I am joined by Dr. Dr. Catherine Hood. Hello! Dr. Catherine Hood: Hello! Emma Howard: Catherine, I have got a question from somebody who is recently been diagnosed with Chlamydia, but he says that he has only have a sex with his girlfriend who swears to him that he is her first sexual partner. He wants to know whether you can catch Chlamydia without having sexual intercourse. Dr. Catherine Hood: Okay, Chlamydia is a very, very common, in fact, the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection. It's estimated that about one in ten young people have got it. So the fact that he has got Chlamydia is not a big surprise and he shouldn't feel particularly singled-out as somebody with Chlamydia. Difficulty with Chlamydia is you can have very few symptoms so you can have it for a long time without knowing. Now in terms of how you catch Chlamydia, yes, the most common way is through having sex without using a condom. And so emphatically says that's the way you normally pick it up. However, it's possible he is classifying his sex and also his girlfriend is classifying her sex because it's also possible to pick up Chlamydia through oral sex. As you know some people including American Presidents don't count oral sex as sex. Emma Howard: So she's saying technically I have not slept with anybody and he is saying technically I have not slept with anybody but you, they could be telling the truth. Dr. Catherine Hood: They could be telling the truth, absolutely, but it could be that actually most people have, young people have sexual contact of some sort from the year preceding the time they actually start to have intercourse. Emma Howard: It used to be called sexual fumbling; I don't know what they refer to -- Dr. Catherine Hood: From first base, second base, whatever you are calling. Emma Howard: Yes. Dr. Catherine Hood: But certainly, through things like oral sex she can pick up Chlamydia and it can be then hopped in the throat and then if you meet another partner and if you have oral sex with them, it suddenly goes from throat, it goes to the genital areas. If you then have sex, it goes to your genital areas. So you can see how it kind of gets spread around and how it is -- Emma Howard: And now I am concerned that this young man being diagnosed with Chlamydia presumably has also then may given a course of treatment on that. So he should be sorted. Dr. Dr. Catherine Hood: The good thing about Chlamydia is that it is very, very easy to treat if we know it's there. The difficulty is knowing it's there because it doesn't have any symptoms quite often. So you have to have a test in order to know it's there. But the antibodies are fantastic and will treat it. Emma Howard: And more quickly. Dr. Dr. Catherine Hood: Yeah, it's important that his partner is also treated. Emma Howard: So if you think you might have it, you can go along to a sexual clinic. Come into there and they'll test you... Dr. Dr. Catherine Hood: Yeah, or to your GP now because a lot of GPs are set up to do a quick screen as well. You don't have to have a full examination. For men, it's just a simple urine test and for women, it's often just a little swab they can do themselves or a urine test. So it's pretty straightforward to test for Chlamydia. Emma Howard: Fantastic! Well, thank you Catherine for that advice, a good advice as always. Thank you! Well, if you have a similar problem we hope we might have given you some help but remember it's always best to go and see your own doctor for medical advice. Thanks for watching, we'll be back with more health questions and answers.